These Astronauts Will Fly SpaceX, Boeing Spacecraft to the ISS

  • These Astronauts Will Fly SpaceX, Boeing Spacecraft to the ISS

These Astronauts Will Fly SpaceX, Boeing Spacecraft to the ISS

NASA has confirmed a delay in the first piloted flights of Boeing and SpaceX, part of NASA's Commercial Crew programme to send humans to the International Space Station (ISS) on private USA spacecraft.

USA astronauts now ride on Russian capsules to the space station. NASA director Jim Bridenstine says the agency has spent billions of dollars a year to reach this stage and there is no turning back.

SpaceX and Boeing, which are partnering with NASA, will first launch test flights, then regular missions.

SpaceX will launch from Kennedy Space Center on board Falcon 9 rockets while Boeing will send its crew capsule up from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop United Launch Alliance Atlas V rockets.

The first SpaceX Crew Dragon flight to the space station will include NASA astronaut and Navy test pilot Victor Glover, who has logged more than 3,000 hours flying 40 different aircraft and NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, who has logged 166 days in space so far. He flew on Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2008 with fellow Georgia Tech graduates Sandy Magnus and Shane Kimbrough. John Mulholland, vice president and program manager for Boeing's Commercial Crew effort, explained that the earliest the company can "confidently" do a manned flight test will be in mid-2019.

The test flights and missions aboard Boeing's CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft, slated for as early as April 2019, will "begin a new era in America spaceflight", the USA space agency said. He retired from NASA after commanding the final shuttle mission in 2011, and eventually joined Boeing to help develop Starliner.

- After a seven-year hiatus, American astronauts will once again go to space from the U.S. The delays could even result in a gap in USA access to the space station, because NASA has contracted for seats on Soyuz only through November 2019, the report found. The astronauts will fly Boeing's CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon. In December, Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1 to set the moon as NASA's next goal for astronauts.

Veteran station flight engineer Mike Hopkins will be accompanied by rookie astronaut Victor Glover on the Crew Dragon's first operational flight to the station.

"The 7,000 women and men of SpaceX understand what a sacred honor it was for us to be part of this program and for us to fly you", Shotwell told the astronaut crews.

That dream became reality in 2013 when Cassada was chosen as a NASA recruit. Boeing most recently suffered a problem while testing its emergency abort system and its first test flight won't be until at least mid-2019. He's spent almost 29 days in space.

For Crew Dragon, the now confirmed crew includes Navy commander, aviator, and test pilot Victor Glover.

"Rockets are fun. I'll be ready, I can't wait", Williams said in an interview posted Friday on the International Space Station Facebook page.

NASA's Commercial Crew Program is facilitating the development of a US commercial crew space transportation capability with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit. Both vehicles were developed in cooperation with NASA to deliver crew members to and from the orbiting laboratory.